From Aug. 5 through Aug. 14, leading up to the first day of classes, News Radio KMAN presents “From the Principal’s Office,” a series of 15 interviews with each building leader in USD 383 Manhattan/Ogden Schools.
Bluemont Elementary is Manhattan’s oldest school building and this year teachers will begin the 108th year of educating young minds there.
Leading the school is principal Beth Neitzel, who taught middle school English for 15 years and was previously an assistant principal at Amanda Arnold before coming over to Bluemont. It’s a family-oriented environment that will be noticeable to those parents and students when they come back to school.
“We totally embrace our students and their families. Our tradition that we started last year was after big breaks all of the teachers go out on the front lawn and welcome kids back to classes. It’s just a way to lift everybody’s spirits and let them know they are loved,” Neitzel said.
Having family involved in a student’s education is key to ensuring a child’s success. Neitzel says they encourage parents to have a good relationship with their child’s teacher and administrators.
“So being able to have those open conversations and having parents know that they can come to us and let us know specifics about their child, it really makes that partnership the best and strongest it can be so those students can flourish at our school,” Neitzel said.
Neitzel explains her job as principal is pretty all-encompassing.
“I know some of my parents laugh when I’m the one answering the phones or doing crossing-guard duty, but that’s the joy of this job. I do a little bit of everything. It’s the best of all the worlds because I can touch every aspect of the school and my kids and the teachers,” Neitzel said.
As for what separates Bluemont from other buildings, Neitzel says they host unique events throughout the year called “den time,” a multi-grade level team building opportunity for students.
“So each teacher, even our secretaries will have a small group of students kindergarten through sixth grade and we do activities that build that sense of community and build on those six pillars of character. I’m excited to see how those change this year,” Neitzel said.
A clean up event is planned this Sunday from 9 a.m. to noon ahead of the first day of school, which is Aug. 14.